Latest News California Optometric Association Says it Is ‘Encouraged’ by Proposed State Budget and Expansion of Medi-Cal Program By Staff Wednesday, January 12, 2022 12:18 AM SACRAMENTO, Calif.—The California Optometric Association said Monday that its pleased with the 2022-2023 state budget proposal from Gov. Gavin Newsom. The association noted that it is “encouraged to see the administration is expanding the Medi-Cal program to cover more individuals,” and that it welcomes any increase in reimbursement rates for optometrists in the program. “Optometrists want the administration to bring optometric care reimbursement rates up from near-worst in the nation to deliver on the promise of access to care,” the association noted in its statement.More details from Gov. Newsom’s proposed budget can be accessed in this announcement, and this website page. The association also issued the following statement from its president Ida Chung, OD, MSHE, FAAO, in response to the governor’s budget proposals. “Eyes are a crucial part of Californians' quality of health and daily lives, from learning in the classroom to mobility in their elder years. "In 2020, California took a significant step forward to expand opportunities for healthy eyes and healthy lives by restoring adult eyeglass benefits through Medi-Cal. This investment will help people with low incomes be able to work and drive safely. The eyeglass benefit encourages more Californians to obtain comprehensive eye exams that can save vision with early detection of diabetes in the eyes. "In today's budget proposal, optometrists were encouraged to see the Administration is expanding the Medi-Cal program to cover more individuals. Optometrists want the Administration to bring optometric care reimbursement rates up from near-worst in the nation to deliver on the promise of access to care. "Increased reimbursement rates to keep up with the cost of delivering quality patient care will deliver even greater returns on the Medi-Cal eyecare benefit by enlisting more eye doctors in California’s front-line defense against the costly and deadly diabetes crisis through preventative eyecare with dilated fundus examinations.” Established in 1899, the California Optometric Association is California's oldest organized community for doctors of optometry. It represents doctors of optometry throughout the state.